Its time to start focusing on the playoffs and our potential roadblocks to Banner 18. Every day we'll bring you what's making news in enemy territory. This way we know what they're up to when it comes time to take 'em out.
Peninsula is Mightier: For the first time in Heat franchise history, three players scored 30 or more points as Miami defeats the Houston Rockets 125-119. Led by Lebron James with 33 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists, the Heat overcame some highly suspect defensive play early to keep pace in the Eastern Conference. Chris Bosh had 31 points and 12 boards. Dwyane Wade added 30 to go along with 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocked shots.
Heat Index: The last time three teammates tallied 30 or more points and 10 or more rebounds in a non-overtime game? Elias Sports Bureau informs us that it hasn't happened in more than 50 years. In fact, the last trio to do it was Oscar Robertson, Wayne Embry and Jack Twyman for the Cincinnati Royals in a loss to the Philadelphia Warriors on Feb. 2, 1961. That's the only other occurrence in NBA history.
ESPN Chicago: Most teams crumble on the second night of a back-to-back. The players are exhausted from having played the night before, their legs are dead and their energy level is shot. But the Chicago Bulls have bucked that trend this season. With a win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night, the Bulls are now 15-5 in the second game of a back-to-back.
Sentinel: No NBA player is having better weeks than Magic center Dwight Howard. Monday, Howard was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the sixth time this season — a league high.
Orlando Magic Daily: To say the least, whoever Orlando puts in at point guard is going to have to be better than that if the team wants to continue this five-game win streak and defeat some fo the playoff teams it has coming up. Nobody knows how long Nelson is going to be out and Stan Van Gundy has not decided who is going to even start in Nelson's place. For sure, Gilbert Arenas, who has struggled in his role off the bench, should be salivating at his chance to potentially start a few games and regain his rhythm on this team.
Indy Star: Welcome to the Indiana Pacers offense. Their offensive effort has been as sporadic as their overall play this season. They look good in two games, then look just as bad in four or five games. The Pacers, losers of two straight games, have been held to less than 100 points in four of their past seven games.
Project Spurs: Already shelved due to injury is Tim Duncan, now add Manu Ginobili to the list. Ginobili suffered a left quadriceps contusion in last night's loss to Memphis and though is not serious, Ginobili cannot put his full weight on his leg and is in considerable pain. His status for tonight's game against Portland is in question.
Project Spurs: Bonner's outside shooting will be crucial for the Spurs towards the end of the regular season especially with Tim Duncan being sidelined due to a sprained ankle injury. While Bonner's offensive production may not be the gauge of the Spurs' success he has certainly helped the team win some ball games.
Silver Screen and Roll: So, do the Lakers have a chance of ending up with the best record in the league? Sure, but those chances rest firmly in the Anything Can Happen! category, a category which should be pretty much exhausted with the title "Back-to-Back Final Four participant" being attached to Butler's name. Do I say this because I don't think there's a chance for the Lakers to catch the Spurs? Not at all. The Spurs have a tough run in, with 5 playoff teams in their last 9 games. Duncan's injury has left them severely short (handed) in the front court, and if Manu misses any time at all, it will be games against Portland tonight and Boston on Thursday, two teams you really don't want to see when you are down. So why don't I rate the Lakers chances very highly? Because they aren't the only team the Spurs can make out in their rear view mirror, and the other teams involved have a much easier path.
OC Register: After winning consecutive NBA championships, the Lakers feel like going 15-1 after the All-Star break isn't much reason to — in the words of Ron Artest's new song — "Go Loco.""We just feel like we're in a good rhythm," Kobe Bryant said calmly after the Lakers' 102-84 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday night at Staples Center.
ESPN Dallas: Another game, another lesson in the continuing education of Rodrigue Beaubois. The Dallas Mavericks' starting shooting guard got off to another slow start as he had trouble sticking with Steve Nash and fighting through hard screens on the Suns' difficult pick-and-rolls. Coach Rick Carlisle had even sent J.J. Barea to the scorer's table just a couple of minutes in before rethinking the substitution.
ESPN Dallas: It seems whenever the Dallas Mavericks are in a pinch, coach Rick Carlisle dials up the three-guard lineup of J.J. Barea, Jason Terry and Jason Kidd.
He's gone to it to finish off both road games to start this six-game road trip 2-0. Against the Jazz, the three guards took the floor with Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler with 6:21 to play and the Mavs trailing, 70-68. They rattled off a 26-7 finish. On Sunday night against the Suns, the three played with Chandler and Dirk Nowitzki for the final 4:12 with the score tied at 79. The unit outscored the Suns 12-4.
Daily Thunder: But post-trade and more specifically since Perkins assumed his spot in the starting five, Oklahoma City’s defense hasn’t just returned to form, it’s been the best it’s ever been. With Perk starting, OKC is allowing just 91.1 ppg, has only allowed a hundred once (against Minnesota) and is 6-1. In those games, OKC’s defensive efficiency is 100.7, which would be third in the NBA.
Welcome to Loud City: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Thunder have officially clinched a spot in the NBA playoffs. Water is on the house! And yeah, it's confirming the inevitable, but it's nice to have this milestone under our belt, and to have accomplished it in March